Cornwall which started its Superfast Cornwall project when the BDUK projects were just an idea is racing ahead with its actual roll-out, and now has superfast services available to some 66,000 Cornish premises, with the project on course to reach the 100,000 property mark in Spring 2012.
"The momentum of the roll-out programme is matched by Cornwall's enthusiasm for this exciting technology. We're now seeing over 200 Cornish homes and businesses signing up to superfast broadband each week with about 4,000 premises already using this exciting technology.
There are many examples of firms and individuals transforming their businesses and their lives with superfast broadband. It can give businesses a competitive edge and offer a wide range of educational and entertainment opportunities for households. We plan to boost take-up even further to ensure the maximum contribution to the future prosperity of our communities."Nigel Ashcroft, programme director of Superfast Cornwall for Cornwall Development Company
The roll-out of a mixture of FTTC, FTTP by Openreach and 4G wireless technologies from Everything Everywhere is the most visible template for the various local authority projects, particularly as the BDUK pilot projects, do not yet appear to have connected any users that we are aware of.
The BT Group is always heavily criticised over its technology mix, but at least they are rolling out, and we feel that a big reason why it seems likely that Openreach will get many of the local authority/BDUK tenders is because the BDUK pilot projects have not showcased any alternatives.
In terms of timescales, Cornwall announced BT as the implementation partner some 18 months ago, and is only a quarter of the way through the job now, so the timescales for local authorities that will only announce partners late in 2012, means that the May 2015 deadline will be looming. The danger being that shortcuts will be taken, to ensure goals are met, rather having the time to implement the best solution for an area.
The vacuum for superfast services in many rural areas, does leave time for enterprising small commercial/community ventures to start offering a service, and if the right price point and service level can be provided they will service even in the face of competition from the big bad wolves that are the PLC's.